2013 Iowa Blues Challenge – Solo/Duo

2013ibc-web-solo

Sunday, August 4, 2013 – 5PM

At Zimms on Ingersoll in Des Moines

  • 5:00 pm Freight Train Frank Strong
  • 5:40 pm JeffCo
  • 6:20 pm Curry and Red
  • 7:00 pm Chad Elliot with Bonita Crowe

The winner receives $250 cash plus $300 in travel expense to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge! More about the entrants below.

Questions? Contact Marty Enslow
prez@cibs.org – 515.771.4845


ChadBonitaChad Elliott w/Bonita Crow – Chad Elliott bought his first guitar at an Omaha pawn shop, a dreadnought next to the used guns and knives. He took it home, slowly taught himself to finger-pick and immediately began  writing original songs and playing them live. Elliott always believed he’d be an artist. He spent his youthful years drawing, painting and sculpting, but the more he picked on those six-strings, the more he found familiar ground with his words and the imagery he strove to achieve on canvas. Songwriting became painting with his words and performing on stage became his new exhibition. Since those days, Elliott has won numerous awards for his songwriting and has had the honor of sharing the bill with such greats as R.L. Burnside, Odetta and Bo Ramsey, among others. Elliott is joined by harmony singer, Bonita Crowe who adds subtle and tight harmonies which augment Elliott’s original songs and create an immediate bond with audiences nationwide. Averaging over 150 shows per year, Elliott and Crowe’s harmonies and rootsy-blues rhythm turn heads everywhere they perform.


CurryRedCurry & Red – Curry and Red met at Shooters and then again at Blues on Grand in Des Moines. Together since then 2008 they have played Beaverdale Fall Fest, Warren Opera House, Madison County Winery, The BAR, Tally’s and numerous other restaurants and clubs in Central Iowa. They created and played the soundtrack for the documentary film “Ecoheartland” recorded at Living Sound Studios, Indianola, IA. Between them they have over 70 years of blues music experience. This is their first time entering the Iowa Blues Challenge.


FrankStrongFrank Strong -Freight Train Frank Strong is on the rosters of the Iowa Arts Council, VSA of Iowa, and the Metro Arts Alliance of Des Moines. He is also a harmonica instructor for music lovers of all ages.  Frank also sits in on harmonica with local bands, and has hired the talent in the past for the Blues Before Sunset at the Historical Center and the Botanical Blues series. He initiated the first “Des Moines River Blues Festival” at the Botanical Center as well. Freight Train Frank has experience providing musical performances to diverse audiences from ages 8 to 80. He is a veteran of local farmers’ markets and coffee houses, playing guitar and harmonica on sing-a-long tunes from old to new, playing fun-loving railroad, Blues, children’s, Folk, ‘50s and old-time Country tunes.   Frank performed at one of the Smithsonian Institution  events during an international arts festival in 2008. Frank was also named the 2008 “Musician of the Year” at the Iowa State Historical Building.


JeffCoJeffCo – Front man Steve McLain has one of those rare voices that never misses the mark, and a good-vibes personality that is humble, confident and electrifying. Introduced to the blues as a child listening to his dad’s John Lee Hooker and SRV albums, Steve was determined to learn guitar to pave the way to his own musical expression. It was the blues that brought Steve to the realization that there was much more to music than meets the ear. Kevin Riley discovered the blues and the harmonica in the same summer while wrestling a broken heart and turbid sense of direction. Longing to find his own voice, the harmonica sounded like words, tears, moans, and screams. It was a bridge to the soul, to lyrical expression, to being and belonging. Steve and Kevin have been playing together for over 10 years. Both are founding members of the Jefferson County Green Band, based in Fairfield, Iowa. To date, they have released 4 albums and had the pleasure of opening for Michael Burks, Eddie Shaw, Magic Slim, and Blues Traveler, to name a few. It is music played from the heart that feeds the soul; that makes you feel good, elevates your soul and makes you want to come back for more.